Local, regional and national government funding has been under immense pressure during the first quarter of 2022.
As a result, Film and TV may not have been at the top of their priority list during this time – as various hard choices have to be made. Although it is clear that Film and TV is not seen as crucial as policing, social care or education, the effects on the wider community in terms of social value and economy are clear.
The Film and TV industry helps these factors by creating thousands of jobs that put money where people need it most, back into society, in businesses and their pockets – as well as creating workforces that develop and harbour new and important skills. For example, STV reports that 2 “major high-end” series are expected to start filming in Scotland over the next few months will help boost the economy. (STV report)
In addition, programmes such as Peaky Blinders have boosted the local economy and tourism areas of Birmingham and other locations by offering tours of the filming locations (news Birmingham).
These are just two examples of how the TV and filming industry can support.
Did you know that for one film office, 40% of money spent by productions in their area last year was not in the creative and media sector? Hotels, shops and restaurants gained additional business just by having productions shoot in the area. Empty premises, both council-owned and private have been used for office space, unit bases and secure parking areas.
Okay, now the hardened director of finance’s view on the sector.
There are two issues here,
- Is the film office function costing a minimal amount possible? and;
- Is revenue being maximised?
To answer these questions it is important to consider that larger productions will have a line in their budget to pay for fees and location hire. Costs should be recovered as much as possible, there are a multitude of reasons for this:
- It is difficult to justify subsidising a particular industry over others. Everything from road closures, parking and staff time should be recovered as much as possible (there are good guides on this in the UK Filming in England).
- Success should not be subsidised by you because more filming on that basis will cost your organisation more staff time and money than you can afford. Film permits are a good way of itemising all the work done for a film and TV production in a chargeable format that can be reported upon, i.e. traffic, parking, work completed by staff on behalf of the production.
Finally you should be questioning if you are maximising your income by ensuring your properties and locations that you own are available for filming? A good example would be £1,500 per week for disused court facilities and £1,000 per day for filming in a park. The more an area gets known the more business it generates.